I approached this one with a certain amount of trepidation. It's U.S. history, about America's particular, and particularly virulent, racism (which is not to suggest that there isn't virulent racism of various flavors damned near everywhere, but yes, this is in my wheelhouse, so I was worried that it could have been mishandled.) It's written by Brits. The story could have gone very wrong. It didn't, in my opinion. Comments that follow are both Doylist and Watsonian and are under the cut because, while I tried to keep them fairly spoiler-free and I think I was successful, I don't want to take that for granted.
1. The tension level was right, both dramatically and in terms of real history. It was the tension of Every Little Thing Can Get You Killed; the tension of always smiling, in order not to get killed; the tension of pleasant, sunny days, doing ordinary things like working or getting on a bus, and knowing that the person whose suit you tailor, or who takes your fare despises you.
2. The level of reality was not what I'd been afraid it might be. It was far better than I expected, and that was great. It showcased all the tension I mentioned, plus the weary cynicism of knowing, as a black woman, that even the "good" white people have no bloody idea of what you're living with every single day. It knew, and admitted, that victories don't come at the end of a television show's episode, and that even the most complete victories are always going to be partial. The story didn't play fast and loose with actual history.
3. The actress who played Rosa Parks played her exceedingly well, without histrionics, and with nuance.
4. The American accents, if they were done by non-Americans, didn't pull me away from the story.
5. The Doctor has become a lot smarter about race than she was when she airily told Martha that it didn't matter. I'm so glad about that. Actually, I'm glad about this Doctor, period, full stop. She is great; she is kind, curious (even more curious than previous iterations), brave, quick-thinking, and beautifully suited to working with a team.
6. One continued regret, that Yaz hasn't yet been highlighted the way she should be.
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